Ways of Seeing Asia: Mapping the French Interior with Alain Resnais, Marguerite Duras and Chris Marker

May 17, 2022, 8:35pm

by Jolie Fan

“[O]therness thus become[s] the fantasy of a certain cultural space or, indeed, the certainty of a form of theoretical knowledge that deconstructs the epistemological ‘edge’ of the West…where the Other text is forever the exegetical horizon of difference, never the active agent of articulation.”
— Homi Bhabha (2012), The Location of Culture

The year 1945 marked a period of singular importance in World history as images of nuclear-torn Hiroshima and Nagasaki etched their scars onto the global conscience, propelling Asia to the forefront of the world’s imaginations.1 In tandem with the burgeoning post-WWII anxieties faced by a weakened, decentered European polity emerging from German occupation and the collapse of their colonial empires, the West’s renewed preoccupation with Asia assumed a new imaginary, couched within reconstructing the hegemonic past and re-orienting the present through Asia.2 To American studies scholar Christina Klein, postwar representations of Asia were “a genuine utopian impulse” that was “wrapped in an air of fantasy” and articulated through self-reflection and self-critique.3

As such, the Asian Film Archive’s film programme Orienting Paradise– orient, in its polysemy, as the topographical act of positioning, a literary epithet to describe the East and an academic discipline popularised by Edward Said––4 investigates the repertoire of canonical images, memory work and discourses conceived by Western writers and filmmakers. Surfacing the singular narratives of “otherness” in Asia as authored within Western frames of reference, Orienting Paradise negotiates the cross-cultural encounters with the East throughout Western film history from the 1930s to the 1980s and critically contextualises these cinematic imaginaries through a contemporary reading of nine films. Drawing on Edward Said’s seminal work Orientalism (1978), these picturesque images of the ostensibly mysterious East reveal an instrument of Western domination and calls for an ulterior reading or, as postcolonial scholar Gayatri Spivak asserts, a “reversal of the binary opposition” of Self and Other.5  

Responding to the“Mapping the World: Perspectives from Asian Cartography” exhibition at the National Library which charts the geographical exteriors and spatial connections between East and West, Orienting Paradise turns its attention towards the interior, mapping the West’s search for a coherent identity upheld in their insistence on Asia as decidedly different, and uncovers the colonial consciousness that underpins the construction of dialectics between West (self) and East (other) in their filmic narratives.6 In these moving images, how is the West, as the subject of history, mediated with Asia, as the object that accrues them its interiority? How is Asia cinematically perceived in the psyche of the Western audience? Do these intercultural exchanges enable or thwart meaningful transnational connections within world cinema? 

Reflecting on these inquiries, I situate three films in the programme’s curatorial selection as the crux of my analysis for their experimental and cultural approaches in establishing Franco-Japanese relations, namely Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and Chris Marker’s Sunday in Peking (1956) and Sans Soleil (1983). Widely studied for seemingly dismantling the colonial apparatus and recognizing the limits (and impossibility) of Western epistemology in understanding the East,7 these films intertwine the memories and histories of two distinct geo-cultural entities on the silver screen, introducing the Western audience to a new way of looking at Asia. 

Seeing Hiroshima: Atomic identities and projected desires

A Japanese man’s voice echoes through the opening of Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour (1959, screenplay by Marguerite Duras), iterating a state of unseeing by his French lover. “You saw nothing. [Tu n’as rien vu],” he says. Prefacing the impossibility of representing the atomic devastation that struck Japan, Resnais extends this “narrative of failure” to the West’s incomprehension of the East as allegorised by the film’s French protagonist, Elle.8 As much as she longs to understand the perceived trauma in Hiroshima, they are not her memories. “The hospital in Hiroshima exists. How could I not have seen it? [L’hôpital existe à Hiroshima. Comment aurais-je pu éviter de le voir?]​​” As her questions drift through the darkness, images of a Japanese hospital, the empty snaking hallways and convalescent patients whittle across the screen. Duras describes this scene in her screenplay of the film, “[We do not see her seeing].”9 Continuously, the French heroine reiterates her presence at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (“Four times at the museum…”)10 as if the photographs, the burnt iron, reconstructions and embalmed human skin could make her a witness to the traumatic event itself. In other words, despite Elle’s physical being in Hiroshima (as an actor in a film about peace), her identity is constituted by what she did not see in Japan; her ‘knowledge’ of Hiroshima is a fractal image sculpted by her “fantasy of loss” back home in France.11 

In displacing the temporal unity and linearity of the past and present, Elle’s subjective memories seem to eclipse that of the Japanese man’s, subjugating his history to the margins without really seeing or deconstructing his transhistorical traumas. Several critics have levied the charge that Asian bodies in Hiroshima mon amour have little autonomy and visibility, serving as a foreign backdrop to the European self, mobilising a Eurocentric diegesis.12 Japanese scholar Yuko Shibata questions Resnais’ decision to juxtapose everyday life in post-war Hiroshima and wartime Nevers, asserting that mediation between the two sites remains “unilateral… insofar as the therapeutic operation is undertaken only on the French[‘s] side, while subordinating Hiroshima to her personal endeavour.”13 Similarly, by pointing out how Japan is framed within France’s desire to come to terms with their repressed wartime memories, film scholar Sandrine Sanos remarks “[a]s both a real and imagined place, ‘Asia’ allowed French viewers to imagine modernity and difference in the wake of the global devastation of the second world war”. To this end, cultural critic Rey Chow maintains that cultural imperialism persists in Duras’ homogenising treatment of her Japanese characters in the screenplay as evinced by how Duras “respectively inserts nonwhite people (as a mass) and her white heroine (as an individual)”.14 

Figure 1. The French protagonist (played by Emmanuelle Riva) leisurely watches the Japanese cyclists from her balcony. Image still from Hiroshima mon amour (1959, dir. Alain Resnais), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution
Figure 2. The Japanese lover (played by Eiji Okada) is asleep as Elle watches him. Image still from Hiroshima mon amour (1959, dir. Alain Resnais), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution
Figure 3. The flashback of the French woman’s dead lover in Nevers, France. Image still from Hiroshima mon amour (1959, dir. Alain Resnais), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution

Interestingly, the catalysing moment in the film, wherein France’s central imagination of Hiroshima becomes prominent, takes place during the film’s first flashback. Wrapped in a kimono, the French actress stands on the balcony of her hotel room, peacefully surveying the pedestrian activities along the streets of Hiroshima (Figure 2). Here, we share her gaze over the Japanese citizens, looking down from her position of superiority above the crowd as if recording Hiroshima’s newly-constructed life.15 This apparent all-seeing disposition is shattered when she turns her gaze to her lover’s outstretched arm and finds the phantom of a bloody hand, ghosts of the past transposed onto the present (Figure 3 & 4). The coagulation of Hiroshima with Nevers calls to mind Spivak’s theory of ‘worlding’ in which the unfamiliar space of Other (Japan) is made comprehensible and less alien by hinging on its connection to the West (France) and therefore “engage[s] in consolidating the self of Europe by obliging the native to cathect the space of the other on his home ground.”16 In this case, the French heroine’s experience of Hiroshima and her impressions of the urban site constructs a monolithic, authoritative identity of the city and forces the audience to consume the diegesis according to her appraisal in her language. Ironically, the film’s primary language is French despite being set in Hiroshima. Eiji Okada, who plays the Japanese architect of the film, had to rote learn the French script; his heavy accent betrays his nativeness but is still not too exotic to the point of incomprehension, attesting to his character’s role as a palatable conduit for the French audience.17 It is no surprise, then, that the film was a box-office failure among Japanese audiences, with attendance so dismal that the film was removed from theatrical distribution in Tokyo after a few days.18 Several Japanese critics, including playwright Yoshio Shirasaka, film critic Susumu Okada and novelist Shusaku Endo, decried Resnais’ tangential depiction of Hiroshima’s tragedy as opposed to the lengthy meditation on Nevers thereby accruing the French with a cathartic interiority at the expense of obfuscating Japan’s reality.19 

To be clear, these verdicts do not diminish the film’s significance as a cornerstone of the nouvelle vague (French New Wave) nor do its critics seek to distract from the film’s accomplishment as a work of profound gravity and poetics. As Resnais conceded in an interview, “the film was a success everywhere but Japan.”20 In fact, Hiroshima mon amour introduced to the international audience footage and newsreels of the heinous aftermath of Hiroshima that had previously been censored by the US after the war.21 The film’s fifteen-minute bricolage of the city’s victims, hospitals, memorials and museums was borrowed from footages of three confiscated Japanese documentaries, Japan Film Company’s The Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1946), Sekikawa’s Hiroshima (1953) and Fumio Kamei’s Still It is Good to Live (1956).22 In this transnational paradigm, the historical context embedded within the usage of the confiscated footage in Hiroshima mon amour rescues from oblivion a forgotten memory of Hiroshima– one mired in censorship and erasure of trauma by the United States, giving the victims of the atomic bomb a place in history.23 

Figure 4. The opening shot of Hiroshima mon Amour where tangled bodies become steeped in ash. Image still from Hiroshima mon amour (1959, dir. Alain Resnais), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution

Perhaps the opening line in Hiroshima mon amour is as much addressed to Elle as to the film’s spectators– an audience whose memories of Hiroshima are the schematic images that plagued the press, a mushroom cloud undercut by the spectacle (as opposed to truth) of human suffering. The quoted footage from the Japanese documentaries aforementioned was never credited for its noteworthy milestone in disseminating unseen images of Hiroshima but merely blanketed under the umbrella of found “Japanese newsreels” and thereafter overshadowed by more popular images of Hiroshima circulating in the media.24 This impulse to universalise and essentialise the images of Hiroshima’s devastation reflects an Orientalist tendency to homogenise the unfamiliar and depoliticise the non-west, as inferred by Said. Likewise, in Rey Chow’s words, “[W]e can also say that our knowledge about what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki is inseparable from the image of the mushroom cloud. As knowledge, ‘Hiroshima’ and ‘Nagasaki’ come to us inevitably as representation and, specifically, as a picture…a kind of gigantic demonstration with us, the spectators, as the potential target.”25 To her, the assertion of Western thought and its superior knowledge of Asia lie in an imagined alienness which functions to contour the identity of the West as the torchbearer of freedom and democracy. The Western spectator does not see Hiroshima so much as it sees its own achievements and tautological ideologies.

Figure 5. A shrine consecrated to the cats of the Tokyo suburbs that Krasna visited.
Image still from Sans Soleil (1983, dir. Chris Marker), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution

Seeing Peking and the World: Marker’s travelling Orientalism

“The trope of travel…serve to express the eighteenth-century colonial preoccupation with land and empire, but also travel as a representation of territorial ambition…”

— Lisa Lowe (1991), Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms

Although Chow’s critique on the myth of Western exceptionalism is anchored in the post-war context, earlier texts about Asia conceived by European powers were also saddled in the same racialised act of looking. France’s fascination with Asia traces its genealogical roots to the 18th and 19th centuries, where Oriental tropes found expression in European paintings, literature, plays, scholarly treatises, mementoes and maps. From Gérard de Nerval’s Voyage en Orient and Comte de Beauvoir’s Voyage autour du monde (1869) to Henri Michaux’s Un Barbare en Asie (1933), these travel memoirs procure vivid images of the alluring lands and cultures in India, China and Japan, amalgamating the fanfare of strange rites and customs.26 During the 19th century, travel literature enunciated powerful representations of the Oriental realm as an exotic counterpart of Europe (one richly populated with resources for plundering) and reified the utopian desire for land and empire.27 Through establishing the opposition of the scientific Occident and the mystic Orient, themes of travel in literature often addressed national anxieties, among other geopolitical tensions, of maintaining hegemony over cultural and continental expansion.28 Taken together, these memoirs impress upon their readers the legitimacy of the traveller’s cross-cultural encounter, establishing Orientalist accounts as cultural norms and institutional beliefs.

Figure 6. A map of Guangdong and adjacent islands in Berghaus’s Atlas von Asia.
Berghaus, Heinrich, Atlas von Asia, Gotha 1833–1858, Bl. 16. Gotha Research Library, Perthes Collection, SPB gr2°1010.00088f (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Figure 7. Souvenirs brought back to France from Marker’s expedition to Beijing.
Image still from Dimanche a Pekin (Sunday in Peking, 1956, dir. Chris Marker), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution

For French film essayist Chris Marker who began his global excursion out of France in the decades after the Second World War, these seductive accounts from literary voyagers compelled Marker’s own desire to see the East, to verify their romantic existence and to respond to these places with his personal impressions.29 In Marker’s words, his curiosity for the frequent invocations of cultural stereotypes was a crucial impetus for his foray across geographical borders, not because he wished to continue its clichéd perpetrations but to self-consciously question the visual register of these territorial realities and to “keep asking: How do people manage to live in such a world?…  that’s where my mania comes from, to see ‘how things are going’ in this place or that.”30 Avowing to the perils and lures of projecting deep-seated desires in his encounters with Asia, his self-reflexive stance is aptly captured in the opening of Dimanche a Pekin (Sunday in Peking, 1956) wherein he recalls, “For 30 years in Paris, I’d been dreaming about Peking without knowing it.” His recollections of Peking are externalised in the colourful spread of souvenirs below the Eiffel Tower, harbouring a primordial fantasy of China since childhood which becomes the portal into Marker’s expedition into this ‘land of dreams’. Screening as a double-bill in the programme Orienting Paradise, Marker’s Sans Soleil (1983) works beyond the nostalgic hesitance in Dimanche a Pekin and transcends the montage by employing new technologies (a synthesiser characterised as ‘The Zone’ that reduces and flattens images into inchoate blurs or ‘non-images’) to wrestle with the nature and functions of time and space, geography and representation. Strung along the undulating ferries off the coast of Japan, between the sleeping passengers of the Tokyo subway, and through the idiosyncratic shrine of porcelain cats, a peripatetic cameraman, Sandor Krasna, narrates his adventures in the terrae incognitae (unknown lands) assuming the role of both the world traveller and the homeless. Ostensibly untethered to a single place, Jonathan Kear explains how Sans Soleil “draw[s] our attention instead to the tropes that frame and mediate our perception and recording of events and in this way serve to de-naturalise historical accounts, showing how claims to ‘truth’ are always ideologically mediated.”31
Throughout the two films’ intricate assemblage of images and sounds, Marker does not impose a unified knowledge over the foreign city he traverses, as applied by 19th-century Orientalist voyagers. Instead, his montage embraces “in their disorder the rhythms, waves, shocks, all the buffers of memory, its meteors and its dragnets”, darting between images and texts to create a “perpetual disorientation of the self in face of difference.”32 In that sense, Marker reveals the ideological underpinnings that come with the recording and mapping of the cross-cultural encounter and unearths the ambivalences, irregularities and discontinuities within his experiences of China and Japan that impinge on his French identity: the picturesque myths in children’s books, his trinkets, souvenirs and treasures from penny-store waysides, and the traditional tales of opera, exotic parades and puppet shows.33

Figure 8. Like a flaneur, Marker’s journey gives a glimpse of the picturesque streets of Beijing, lined with big-character signs and colourful banners. Image still from Dimanche a Pekin (Sunday in Peking, 1956, dir. Chris Marker), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution
Figure 9. A public performance by Chinese gymnasts, documented by Marker.
Image still from Dimanche a Pekin (Sunday in Peking, 1956, dir. Chris Marker), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution

Alongside his astute awareness of the travelogue as a medium of ‘appearances’ (recognized as deceptive and ephemeral by Krasna in Sans Soleil) and his desire to go beyond the exterior, Marker’s commentary in Dimanche a Pekin nonetheless surfaces Orientalist edifice through its metaphorical inflexions and invocations of nostalgic longing.34 The film seizes on the entertaining displays of street performances, captivating swordplays (as opposed to familiar Western dumbbells), nimble gymnastics, parades and fairgrounds populated with “treasures” and “the penny toys they sell on the pavement to the shops covered with characters as if they were huge boxes of tea” and Chinese ink paintings laced with  mysticism and legend. These poetic metaphors employed by Marker bear the palimpsest of orientalist cliches about an idyllic and colourful East as if contemplating a belated memory of when Jules Verne and Marco Polo first set their wandering gaze at the same city. Shrouded in nostalgia, Dimanche a Pekin presents the picturesque “fragments of Old China ” in direct contrast to the modernity of present-day Peking and its fly-less streets. Likewise, the timelessness of the Zone in Sans Soleil, the incisive drifts of dazzling images of comic book shops in Shinjuku, the department stores in the city’s subterranean tunnels and the megalomaniac television screens are elements that point to a subconscious desire for an enduring past.35 

Figure 10. The Zone in Sans Soleil was invented by Krasna’s friend, Hayao Yamaneko.
Image still from Sans Soleil (1983, dir. Chris Marker), Courtesy of Tamasa Distribution
Figure 11. A geo-temporal map that plots the length of each scene of the film (horizontal axis), modulated by the location where each sequence was shot (vertical axis). Image courtesy of the Pacific Film Archive, 1990.

According to Ali Behdad, this “nostalgic desire for the other contains an implicit critique of Western superiority, a split within European discourses of otherness.”36 In other words, nostalgia tacitly suggests the West’s identification with the Orient, enabling possibilities of similarities between Other and Self, rather than propagating difference. Bridging the gulf between China’s reality and the fantastical projections of the West, the foreign landmarks, streets and events of significance to the Chinese pivot upon their French equivalents: China’s Summer Palace with France’s Bois de Boulogne and the banks of the Loing; the Great Wall with the Maginot Line; the Chinese National Day with France’s Bastille Day. By reconciling the strange with the familiar and domesticating the exotic terrains, Marker attempts to “grasp the distance of China from the inside” as Christine Lupton remarks, inviting viewer-readers to re-imagine the distant Chinese city as home with a “shared history just like sharing our daily bread”.37 This geospatial reckoning in Sans Soleil manifests in other forms, for instance in Figure 11, a geo-temporal map charts the film’s contours in sequences, scenes, shots and frames as if it is a topographical construction, with troughs and crests reminiscent of the musical flows and rhythms of Mussorgsky’s composition (which the film took its name after).38 In such cases, the self-conception of the viewer-reader (usually French), inhabiting their own geographical space, is placed into a confrontation with the world, or in the words of Chris Marker, “the reader has understood that one’s knowledge of the world is now an indispensable part of knowing oneself. The French may not have changed, but geography has.”39

Ways of (Un)Seeing the ‘Cross-cultural’ Asia

In theorising new ways of seeing (or unseeing) the East, Rey Chow cites Martin Heidegger’s conceptualisation of the primacy of seeing in the age of the ‘world picture’: “World picture [as] the process of (visual) objectification has become so indispensable in the age of modern scientific research that understanding––‘conceiving’ and ‘grasping’ the world––is now an act inseparable from the act of seeing––from a certain form of ‘picturing.’”40 Chow adds that ‘picture’ in Heideggerian notion (a philosophical treatise that posits individuality as mediated by social contexts and everyday interactions) does not mean mimesis or Bazinian realism, but the “establishing of self in the world” which is an active element of cross-cultural negotiation. Cultural studies scholars have long been wary of the epithet ‘cross-cultural’ in their approach to national and transnational cinemas. E. Ann Kaplan and Zhang Yingjin in their respective articles, warn against the dangers of cross-cultural interpretation where a Western-informed theory subjects docile bodies of another culture to “an interpretative processing exclusively in Western analytic technology.”41 If the world-picture arises from a production of knowledge bound by the sole purpose of gaining mastery over the Other and by consolidation, the Self, is there a paradigm that precipitates a non-hegemonic understanding of another culture, barred from ideological assumptions and projections of desire?

Perhaps, the answer lies in the attempt. Resnais’ Hiroshima mon Amour, Marker’s Sunday in Peking and Sans Soleil are less an exercise of the world-picture than a dismantling of the coherence of the West’s identity. Their films mark an important departure from depicting the unified and unambiguous consciousness as posited in Said’s formulation of Western Orientalism. In fact, Western identities and epistemological structures in their narratives are increasingly fractured, displaced and estranged; tempered by the awareness of the constraints in the Western framework and refusing to concede to a fixed set of “truths” in discourse with the Other. Not without faults for privileging certain identities (the French subject) over others, the films of Resnais and Marker nevertheless disorient and subvert incumbent perspectives represented in French atlases and travel memoirs, decentering Europe and European ideas to spotlight other regions of the East in flux. 

Whether seeing Asia through mnemonic traces or territorial contours, the presence of negotiating the cross-cultural gulf suggests that there is a convening site to uncover the sensitivities necessary for mutually-beneficial exchange. To this end, a negotiation of dialectical discourse through a multiplicity of readings (both emanating from and outside the producing culture) may provide a recourse against cultural domination and towards an act of resistance: staring back


About the Writer

Jolie Fan Yuxuan is a writer, aspiring journalist and cultural studies undergraduate working at the intersection of film criticism, scholarly investigation and festival programming. Multitudinal and a lover of the peripheral, her research focuses on the political economy of Southeast Asian cinema/film festivals and transnational encounters of culture as mediated by power relations and canon formations.


Endnotes

1.  In her terms, the representations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have become “a sign of terror, a kind of gigantic demonstration with us, the spectators, as the potential target.” See Chow, Rey. “The Age of the World Target: Atomic Bombs, Alterity, Area Studies.” In The Rey Chow Reader. Columbia University Press, 2010, pp. 2-14. 

2.  See Klein, Christina. “Cold War Orientalism.” In Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945–1961. University of California Press, 2003. 

3.  Ibid, pp. 9 – 10. For more discourse on postwar representations of Asia as “inscrutable” and monolithic, see Steadman, John M. “The myth of Asia.” The American Scholar 25, no. 2 (1956): pp. 163-175. 

4.  Said, Edward. “Introduction,” in Orientalism. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1978,  p. 1.

5.  Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty & Sarah Harasym. The post-colonial critic: Interviews, strategies, dialogues. Routledge, 1990, p. 8. 

6.  For a more comprehensive study on orientalist discourse within film texts and canons, specifically within Hollywood, see Bernstein, Matthew H., Matthew Bernstein, and Gaylyn Studlar, eds. Visions of the East: Orientalism in film. Rutgers University Press, 1997. 

7.  Several scholars have analysed (and praised) Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, specifically, for their critical reflections of Asia in their works. Hence, there is value in deconstructing the paradox of self-reflexive acknowledgement from the dominating cultural viewpoint of a French artist. See An, Grace. “A Par-Asian cinematic imaginary.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 10, no. 1 (2006): pp. 15-23. and an anthology of scholars examining Chris Marker’s travelogues across the globe published on Film Comment. See Arthur, Paul. “Around the world with Chris Marker.” Film Comment 39, no. 4 (2003): pp. 31–48.

8.  Craig, Siobhan S. “Tu n’as rien vu a Hiroshima: Desire, Spectatorship and the Vaporized Subject in Hiroshima mon amour.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 22, no. 1 (2005): pp. 25-35. 

9.  Duras, Marguerite, and Alain Resnais. Hiroshima mon amour: scénario et dialogue. Gallimard, 1960, p. 23

10.  Ibid, p. 24

11.  Higgins, Lynn A. New Novel, New Wave, New Politics: Fiction and the Representation of History in Postwar France. University of Nebraska Press, 1998, p. 40

12.  See Higgins, “New Novel, New Wave, New Politics”, p. 33; Matsuda, Matt. “East of No West: The Posthistoire of Postwar France and Japan.” Confluences: Postwar Japan and France. University of Michigan Press, 2002, pp. 15-33.; Yoneyama, Lisa. Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the Dialectics of Memory. University of California Press, 1999., and Sanos, Sandrine. “‘My Body was Aflame with His Memory’: War, Gender and Colonial Ghosts in Hiroshima mon amour (1959).” Gender & History 28, no. 3 (2016): pp. 728-753.

13.  Resnais himself explained in a 1980 interview, broadcasted on “Le cinéma des cinéastes” radio program, that the film was “a classic love story in which [Hiroshima] would be more of a background… in the distance, like a kind of landscape.” See Le Cinéma des Cinéastes, “Interview with Alain Resnais” presented by Claude Jean Philippe, aired 27 July 1980 on French Radio. Accessed 11 April 2022 on the Criterion Channel: https://www.criterionchannel.com/videos/alain-resnais-on-hiroshima-mon-amour

14.  Chow, Rey. “When Whiteness Feminizes . . .” in The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Columbia University Press, 2002, p. 178.

15.  Shibata, Yuko. “Postcolonial Hiroshima, Mon Amour: Franco-Japanese Collaboration in the American Shadow.” In The Trans-Pacific Imagination: Rethinking Boundary, Culture and Society, 2012. pp. 215-251. 

16.  ​​Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “The Rani of Sirmur: An essay in reading the archives.” History and Theory 24, no. 3 (1985): pp. 247-272.

17.  An American film critic noted that Okada was “speaking French in strange, Oriental accents,” See Weiler, Abraham H., ‘Screen: “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”: French-Japanese Film Opens at Fine Arts’. The New York Times, Archives. 17 May 1960. https://www.nytimes.com/1960/05/17/archives/screen-hiroshima-mon-amourfrenchjapanese-film-opens-at-fine-arts.html. (Accessed 17 April 2022). 

18.  The use of French as the dominant language and the centrality of Nevers, as opposed to Hiroshima, were contributing factors to its box-office failure in Japan (only 6 – 34% of seating capacity upon its Japanese premiere) ergo being removed from theatrical distribution in Tokyo after a few days, according to Japan Weekly Movie Press in 1959. See Shukan eiga puresu (Weekly Movie Press) no. 598, 20 June 1959, p. 3. 

19.  As Yuko Shibata cites and translates in the introduction of her book “Producing Hiroshima and Nagasaki”. See Shibata, Yuko. “Knowledge Production on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Politics of Representation and a Critique of Canonization” in Producing Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Literature, Film, and Transnational Politics. University of Hawaii Press, 2018.

20.  Hughes, Robert “‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’: A Composite Interview with Alain Resnais,” in Film: Book 2: Films of Peace and War. Grove Press, 1962, p. 60. 

21.  Yuko Shibata, Knowledge Production on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Politics of Representation and a Critique of Canonization, pp. 6–7.

22.  To scholar Yuko Shibata, Resnais depended “heavily on Kamei’s work in the opening sequence of Hiroshima Mon Amour” which contained newsreels of Hiroshima just two days after the bombing in 1946. See Ibid, p. 8. 

23.  Kaplan, Brett Ashley. “Too painful to forget, too painful to remember: Ashes of memory in Marguerite Duras and Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and Duras’s La douleur (1985).” Memory Studies 14, no. 4 (2021): pp. 834-855.

24.  “Neither Resnais nor Duras ever mentioned this [film], noting only that the footage of [Hiroshima] came from Japanese ‘newsreels’ but not revealing the background or the titles.” See Yuko Shibata, Knowledge Production on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Politics of Representation and a Critique of Canonization, pp. 6.

25.  Rey Chow, “The Age of the World Target: Atomic Bombs, Alterity, Area Studies.” p. 1.

26.  To literary scholar Ali Behdad, “belated traveler-writers of the nineteenth century have their genealogical roots in a desire for the Orient… which holds a mediating relation with the orientalist desire for knowledge and power, as a subtle critique of Western superiority.” See Behdad, Ali. “Introduction” In Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution. Duke University Press, 1994, p. 14.

27.  Behdad, Ali. “Orientalist Desire, Desire of the Orient.” In French Forum, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 37-51. University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

28.  “The Parisians’ fascination with the exotic exposes a fascination with difference based on a preoccupation with defining sameness, an anxiety about the consistency and the cohesion of French identity in an age of rapidly mounting colonial ambitions.” See Lowe, Lisa. “Travel Narratives and Orientalism: Montagu and Montesquieu.” In Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms. Cornell University Press, 1991. pp. 30-74.

29.  For an in-depth exploration of how nineteenth-century explorers shaped Marker’s imagination of the East, see Gauthier, Guy. “Images d’enfance” in Théorème, 6: Recherches sur Chris Marker (Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2002), pp. 46–59. 

30.  Quoted in Marker, Chris, Samuel Douhaire, and Annick Rivore. “Marker Direct: an interview with Chris Marker”, Film Comment, Vol. 3, no. 39, May 2003. https://www.filmcomment.com/article/marker-direct-an-interview-with-chris-marker/ (Accessed 17 April 2022)

31.  Kear, Jonathan. “The Clothing of Clio: Chris Marker’s Poetics and the Politics of Representing History”, Film Studies no. 6, Summer 2005, p. 58.

32.  Marker explains his preferred approach towards travelling as haphazard and random, such spontaneity reflects in his personal accounts of the places being visited, flitting from one observation to another.  See Lupton, Catherine. Chris Marker: Memories of the Future. Reaktion Books, 2005. p. 43

33.  Kear, “The Clothing of Clio: Chris Marker’s Poetics and the Politics of Representing History” p. 58; and see Kia Lindroos. “Chris Marker as Cinematic Witness.” In Art as a Political Witness. Verlag Barbara Budrich, 2017.

34.  Sheedy, Louise. “‘All the Thrills of the Exotic’: Collective Memory and Cultural Performance in Chris Marker’s Sunday in Peking.” Senses of Cinema, no. 52 (September 2009). 

35.  Alexander, Travis. “A Hint of Industrial Espionage in the Eye: Orientalism, Essayism, and the Politics of Memory in Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 36, no. 1 (2019): 42-61. 

36.  Ali Behdad, “Belated Travellers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution.”, p. 1

37.  Catherine Lupton, “Chris Marker: Memories of the Future”, p. 53

38.  Darke, Chris, and Chris Marker. “Eyesight.” Film Comment 39, no. 3 (2003): 48. https://www.filmcomment.com/article/chris-marker-eyesight/ (Accessed 17 April 2022)

39.  Chris Marker wrote in his announcement of the then-forthcoming Petite Planète series in the Editions du Seuil house magazine 27 Rue Jacob about the new realities of tourism. See Chris Marker, ‘Petite Planète’, 27 Rue Jacob, 10 (Summer 1954), p. 1

40.  Parenthesis and punctuation as original. See Rey Chow. “The Age of the World Target: Atomic Bombs, Alterity, Area Studies”, p. 7.

41.  Kaplan, Ann E.  ”Problematizing Cross-Cultural Analysis: The Case of Women in the Recent Chinese Cinema,” Wide Angle, vol. 11, no. 2 (1989), pp. 41-42. & Yingjin, Zhang. “Rethinking cross-cultural analysis: The questions of authority, power, and difference in Western studies of Chinese films.” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 26, no. 4 (1994): 44-54.

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